As long as I’m posting old Makem and Clancy clips… here’s a funny one from the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem about the whole Catholic-Protestant conflict. The joke the precedes that the song (told by the late great Tommy Makem, in fine form as usual) might be the best part, but the song (The Old Orange Flute) is pretty funny too.
According to the article in The Irish Independent, Tony has been a closeted (not to say, Cloistered :) follower of the Faith for a long time, but feared to make it Official whilst still PM because of potential constitutional difficulties:
Tony Blair is “certain” to become a Roman Catholic shortly after he steps down from office next week, friends of the British PM have said. They believe it will happen “sooner rather than later”.
Mr Blair is likely to discuss his conversion with Pope Benedict XVI, with whom he will hold talks in Rome tomorrow after attending his last summit of European Union leaders in Brussels.
…There have been persistent rumours that the Prime Minister would convert to Catholicism but Downing Street has always insisted that he remains a member of the Church of England.
Now friends say Mr Blair will formalise his already close affiliation to the Catholic Church. They say his “spiritual guide” in making the decision has been his wife, Cherie. They have brought up their four children as Catholics.
…It is believed that Mr Blair decided to remain an Anglican while he was Prime Minister because of the possible legal and political difficulties of converting while in office.
Although Britain has never had a Catholic prime minister, the church has said there would be no constitutional bar to Mr Blair joining while he was still in office. But some lawyers believe the 1829 Emancipation Act, which granted civil rights to Roman Catholics, may still prevent a Catholic from becoming Prime Minister. It says that no Catholic adviser to the monarch can hold civil or military office.
…As Prime Minister Mr Blair has been cautious about his religious beliefs. As Alastair Campbell, his former director of communications, once famously said: “We don’t do God.”
PS: In other news of British spiritual practices :), the Ministry of Justice has created its own home team of morris dancers ~
A team of morris dancing civil servants from the new Ministry of Justice have been given permission to call themselves the Lord Chancellor’s Folk.
The Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, gave the go-ahead after considering a two page report prepared by an official in his private office.
…In the two page submission, leaked to The Times newspaper, a member of Lord Falconer’s private office briefs him on the history of morris dancing.
The document says the newly-formed Ministry of Justice group dance in the Cotswolds’ Tradition and in the Barmpton Style, which involves the “use of handkerchiefs and sticks”.
…It adds: “Morris dancing is currently one of the Icons of England on the Department of Culture, Media and Sport site, alongside a cup of tea, a stiff upper lip and a bowler hat.”
….a Ministry of Justice spokesman denied time had been wasted on the issue and said staff members were entitled to a hobby.
[Spot on. / ~ the civilservantpensioner guestclogger :]
…The Ministry of Justice has recently been under fire after Lord Falconer announcing 25,000 prisoners could be released early on licence to ease prison overcrowding in England and Wales.
A committee on Church teaching and doctrine has issued a finding reversing the idea that unbaptized infants are relegated to Limbo.
Is it just me, or is there something deeply, deeply ironic about Muslims firebombing churches “to protest the pope’s remarks…linking Islam and violence”?
I mean, seriously. Let’s ponder this for half a second. If you’re the sort of Muslim who thinks violence in the name of Islam is OK, then why would you be offended by the linkage of Islam and violence? And, on the other hand, if you’re the sort of Muslim who thinks violence in the name of Islam isn’t OK, then why are you firebombing churches? Can someone please explain this to me?
Anyway, Casey has (as per usual) a thoughtful post on the subject.
UPDATE: Now they’re killing nuns.
Muslims are not happy with the Pope, not happy at all.
P.S. This latest “how dare you insult Islam” kerfuffle has me thinking. Why is not OK to criticize Islam? Personally, I don’t know enough about Islam to either defend it or criticize it. But it seems to be a widely accepted tenet of the secular church of political correctness that any criticism of Islam is a form of bigotry — “Islamophobia” — and I don’t understand why. There’s a big difference between criticizing a religion and stereotyping or generalizing about its adherents. For instance, I can criticize Scientology as being a load of crap while still recognizing that there are doubtless some Scientologists out there who aren’t total freaks. I can criticize Mormonism for various aspects of its doctrines while still acknowledging that lots of Mormons are wonderful people. I can criticize Catholicism for excluding women from the priesthood, opposing various forms of scientific progress, and promoting an unrealistic set of “values” (priestly celibacy, no birth control under any circumstances, etc.) that lead to all sorts of real-world problems, without insinuating that Catholics as a whole are somehow deficient as human beings. I can even make far harsher criticisms, and still be within the realm of acceptable discourse. Some people believe that religion generally is a load of bunk, that it’s the opiate of the masses, that it leads to nothing but delusion, war and death. These people are not called bigots, nor should they be, unless and until they start unfairly generalizing about people, as opposed to critiquing belief systems. Why, then, is it off-limits to criticize Islam? The thesis that Islam is a “religion of peace” seems to be an article of faith, unquestioned and unquestionable, among large segments of our P.C.-obsessed society. Why? I’m not arguing that Islam is not a religion of peace — again, I don’t know enough about the subject to have an educated opinion about the religion’s doctrines, its history, etc. — but why should scholars and commentators who study the subject and draw a contrary conclusion be shunned as bigoted Islamophobes? Are we simply afraid of the response from the Arab Street? Is there some other reason why we hold Islam to a different standard, when it comes to criticism and commentary, than we do other religions? Or am I simply misperceiving the situation, and really there’s no double-standard at all? I’m genuinely curious as to what people think.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, deeply offended by the Da Vinci Code’s purportedly blasphemous portrayal of his religion, is calling on Catholics to register their anger by
rioting, burning down buildings, threatening beheadings and committing murders taking legal action against the book and film.
Actually, I think it’s pretty stupid that he’s even calling for legal action. Boycotts, letter-writing campaigns and/or peaceful, non-threatening protests — in other words, counterspeech — would be much better, and much more in line with the concept of free speech, than trying to use the courts in a coercive fashion to suppress free expression and art. But still, it’s good to remember that there are worse things. It’s especially good to consider this before comparing violent radical Islamism with the run-of-the-mill fundamentalism of devout Catholics and Christians in this country (nowadays).
Well, not so fast. But a top cardinal has reported that Pope Benedict XVI has asked the Church to look into OKing condom use to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Just an update from the resident Jewish poster to the ND community ;-)
So Cardinal Roger Mahoney today called a special Mass to kick off a period of fasting and protest against the current immigration reforms being debated on Capitol Hill. The special Mass follows his earlier precedent of having a special Mass for the victims of the sex abuse scandal… oh wait, no, that never happened because Cardinal Mahoney completely refused to cooperate with any of the victims whatsoever and did everything he could to cover up for the priests under his purview who were responsible.
So, apparently Cardinal Mahoney’s stance is consistent: In each case, he stands for lawbreakers and seeks to shirk the rule of law; in each case, he does what is in his and his diocese’s best financial interest (fighting the victims instead of making settlements; fighting for the hoardes of illegal immigrants that are the only thing standing in the way from his diocese’s total demographic collapse) instead of what is moral and just.
In case you’re wondering, I have a special disaffinity for Cardinal Mahoney, who was given an honorary degree at my USC commencement ceremony in 2002 for being a “champion of dialogue and understanding”. Unfortunately I will be forever linked to that scumbag.
This sounds about as plausible as Mr. T playing Reepicheep, but apparently it’s actually real:
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India (AFP) - An Indian movie director said he hopes to persuade Paris Hilton to play the role of Nobel laureate and prospective Catholic Saint, Mother Teresa, in an upcoming film.
“Her features resemble Mother Teresa,” director T. Rajeevnath told AFP from the southwestern coastal state of Kerala.
The filmmaker said Hilton is on his shortlist after a computer-generated image showed a close facial match between the hotel heiress and the Albanian-born nun.
This won’t cause any controversy at all.
Emily says Pope Benedict XVI’s replacement in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church’s new doctrinal enforcer, “manages to reconcile Catholicism with Westernization while remaining true to fundamental Catholic doctrine.” Sounds good to me.
If any of you read the Wall Street Journal religiously, you may have glanced over Dorothy Rabinowitz’s two-day installment on the clergy abuse scandal. Specifically, she argued in favor of the defrocked Gordon MacRae who received his sentence in this great state of NH. Some good research by the staff at the NH Union Leader, however, gave Dorothy a good wake up call. After she insisted upon her objectivity in reporting, NHUL staff writer Denis Paiste recalled documents from as far back as fall of 2001 that expressed her involvement in Diocesan legal affairs, as well as her involvement with the settlement in March 2003. Her response?
“I haven’t been involved in this case,” Rabinowitz said. “I cannot help somebody using my name. There was no litigation going on. They were discussing the possibilities of getting an attorney, I knew this attorney. . .this attorney did not take the case.”
Next, she said:
“I read the documents and I have the same documents that you have,” she said. “Gordon MacRae is in prison, and I hadn’t even met him.”
But THEN she said:
“Robert Rosenthal was an attorney who does very well in appeals cases. . .and so when asked for a name, I produced that name.”
Asked who had asked for the name, she said, “Father MacRae, and I believe it was Father Diebold, the canon advocate for Father MacRae.”
The list goes on. To make matters worse, despite her status as a Pullitzer Prize-winning commentator, she revealed confidential information (including a previously undisclosed name) of one of the victims of MacRae’s abuse.
Dorothy, go back to Journalism 101. You really aren’t in Kansas anymore.
Pope Benedict XVI, back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, asserted that the Church was above the law when it came to sexual abuse of children by priests, according to The Observer. He also reportedly threatened those who violated the “pontifical secret” with, among other things, excommunication:
[A] confidential letter…which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001…asserted the church’s right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II’s successor last week.
Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a ‘clear obstruction of justice’. …
Ratzinger’s letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been ‘perpetrated with a minor by a cleric’. … It orders that ‘preliminary investigations’ into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger’s office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the ‘functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests’.
‘Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,’ Ratzinger’s letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.
Of course, keeping the evidence confidential for that long causes serious statute-of-limitations problems. As a lawyer for two of the victims points out. “If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10, the priest will get away with it.”
This does not make me feel particularly friendly toward the new Holy Father.
Conservative Catholic Domer blog Being! Or Nothingness has a very interesting post (quoting Sando Magister of the Italian magazine L’Esspresso) about the possible elements of Benedict XVI’s agenda. In light of all the discussion around here about birth control, this excerpt is particularly noteworthy:
The encyclical of Paul VI forbidding artificial contraception produced one of the most serious ruptures between the papal magisterium and the practice of the faithful in recent decades. But today the focal point of the Churchâ€™s preaching has shifted: more than the pill and the condom, the Church’s attention is concentrated on the defense of every life from the moment of conception. The result is that even at the summit of the Church’s leadership calm discussions have begun again about the prohibition of “Humanae Vitae” as not definitive or rigid, but open to future corrections. Cardinal Georges Cottier, official theologian of the papal household, gave an authoritative first sign of a shift one month before John Paul II died: he admitted the use of the condom as a defense against AIDS, under accurately described special conditions. It is possible that the new pope will take further steps in the same direction.
I don’t know how reliable this blogger’s account is, but it’s at least food for thought.
Why on earth does the New York Times keep Maureen Dowd on its payroll? An excerpt from her latest “masterpiece”:
[The new pope is] Joseph Ratzinger, a 78-year-old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler Youth.
That’s all she says about the issue — she doesn’t mention that membership was compulsory, or that Ratzinger eventually deserted his post in the Nazi army, or that the ADL says he “has great sensitivity to Jewish history and the Holocaust” which he has demonstrated “countless times.” Those essential factual details would take away some of the “zing” from Dowd’s trademark snark, and obviously that’s more important than the truth, let alone a man’s reputation and good name. So Dowd just says that Benedict XVI “once belonged to the Hitler Youth” and leaves it at that, thus deliberately leaving her readers with the false impression that the new pope is a Nazi.
I realize Dowd is a columnist, not a reporter; she’s not required to be “balanced,” and she’s entitled to her opinion. But she’s not entitled to her own facts, and this is a factual distortion, plain and simple. It might be a distortion by omission, but it’s still a distortion.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Dowd has a well-documented history of lies and egregious, uncorrected factual errors. Moreover, her writing is the sort of utterly uninspired tripe that might qualify as mildly clever, column-worthy stuff if she was writing for a college newspaper, or perhaps a small Upper East Side alt-weekly. That she continues to hold down a coveted columnist spot in the pages of the New York Times truly boggles the mind.
P.S. It’s almost like Sean and Dowd get their news from the same biased lefty sources, or something.
P.P.S. More on the “Nazi pope” slur here. Also, German outrage over the Sun’s “Hitler Youth” front page here. And here is an article saying the new pope is a cat-lover, which makes me instantly like him more. :)
It seems a shame, really. The man hadn’t been pope for two hours when the lefty blogs went (literally) profane and disgraceful (and - of course - adolescent) and the press was hardlining their memes and caricatures of him.
Benedict XVI, it seems, is a relentless and remorseless hard-ass who takes-no-prisoners and wields a clumsy and undiplomatic sword, cutting a path of hard-hearted destruction no matter where he goes, and he will be a disaster for the church, and oppressor of women, gays, people of girth, people of mirth, … little puppies, small furry rodents and children he doesn’t like.
Or, something like that.